PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/7/2015 – The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team’s hopes for an Ivy League title suffered a huge setback after the Friday night loss to Cornell. The team needed a win against Columbia and got it with a 78 – 57 victory at the Palestra. It was an important bounce back win for Penn.
“It feels great,” senior forward Kara Bonenberger said about getting a win after the previous night’s disappointment. “Sometimes you have to get hit once or twice to demonstrate that you’re not going to be on the top of this league all of the time. It was tough that we lost, but it shows we can fight back. We got our energy back. It shows that we can come back and get a win.”
The game was back and forth early. The Red and Blue held a 28 – 25 lead, then found the range from three-point land making five consecutive to break the game open with a 17 – 4 run. Guard Kathleen Roche sank four straight from distance and forward Katy Allen added one more. Bonenberger added two free throws in that stretch. Penn took a 53 – 33 lead into the locker room, and were never threatened in the second half.
Bonenberger scored 12 points in the contest. Her layup with 9:21 left to play gave her 1,000 career points, the 20th player in Penn history to reach that milestone.
“It was a great honor in high school, but in college it is a different story,” Bonenberger said about reaching the scoring level. “You have to fight for your position all of the time. I am honored and privileged to have this opportunity to reach 1,000 points.”
Freshman forward Michelle Nwokedi led the Red and Blue with 19 points on 6 for 10 shooting from the floor and 7 of 8 from the free throw line. Nwokedi also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds and blocked 7 shots. Center Sydney Stipanovich added 17 points. Roche had 15 points, all five of her baskets were from beyond the arc. Guard Beth Brzozowski had 10 assists. The Quakers made 18 of 20 from the free throw line.
Tori Oliver scored a game-high 24 points for Columbia.
Penn improves to 12 – 7 overall and is 3 – 2 in the Ancient Eight. The Red and Blue wants to stay in the hunt for the Ivy crown. It will be a difficult road to get back to the top, but McLaughlin said the Quakers are not scoreboard watching.
“I told the team I can’t let them caught up with what other teams are doing and what their records are,” said McLaughlin. “We are keeping score for Penn, and that’s all that really matters. We are going to fight everyone we play. We understand what is going on. we will handle this game and go on the next one. I am proud of our girls for understanding that.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian